Monday, March 31, 2014

The healing of our blindness

The great thing about the blind was that he knew he was blind; he cried out, however hopelessly in human terms, to be given sight.  Jesus spoke sadly of those who have eyes yet do not see.  This is us.  He accepts this, he understands it, he feels compassion for it.  But he cannot heal it unless we actually acknowledge it and ask for light....  We all have a stick and a begging purse.  If we allow our Lord to cure our blindness, we can throw both away....  

~Sister Wendy Beckett

As for me, I will cry to God,
and the Lord will save me.
Evening, morning, and at noon,
I will cry and lament,
and he will hear my voice.
~Psalm 54(53):17-18

Sunday, March 30, 2014

4th Sunday of Lent

The blind man went off and washed himself and came away with his sight restored.
John 9:1-41

You have heard that story in the Gospel where we are told that the Lord Jesus, as he was passing by, caught sight of a man who had been blind from birth.

Since the Lord did not overlook him, neither ought we to overlook this story of a man whom the Lord considered worthy of his attention. In particular we should notice the fact that he had been blind from birth. This is an important point.

There is, indeed, a kind of blindness, usually brought on by serious illness, which obscures one’s vision, but which can be cured, given time; and there is another sort of blindness, caused by cataract, that can be remedied by a surgeon: he can remove the cause and so the blindness is dispelled. Draw your own conclusion: this man, who was actually born blind, was not cured by surgical skill, but by the power of God.

When nature is defective the Creator, who is the author of nature, has the power to restore it. This is why Jesus also said. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world,” meaning: all who are blind are able to see, so long as I am the light they are looking for. Come, then, and receive the light, so that you may be able to see.

What is he trying to tell us, he who brought human beings back to life, who restored them to health by a word of command, who said to a corpse. “Come out!” and Lazarus came out from the tomb; who said to a paralytic. “Arise and pick up your stretcher,” and the sick man rose and picked up the very bed on which he used to be carried as a helpless cripple?

Again, I ask you, what is he trying to convey to us by spitting on the ground, mixing his spittle with clay and putting it on the eyes of a blind man, saying: “Go and wash yourself in the pool of Siloam (a name that means “sent”)?” What is the meaning of the Lord’s action in this? Surely one of great significance, since the person whom Jesus touches receives more than just his sight.

In one instant we see both the power of his divinity and the strength of his holiness. As the divine light, he touched this man and enlightened him; as priest, by an action symbolizing baptism he wrought in him his work of redemption.

The only reason for his mixing clay with the spittle and smearing it on the eyes of the blind man was to remind you that he who restored the man to health by anointing his eyes with clay is the very one who fashioned the first man out of clay, and that this clay that is our flesh can receive the light of eternal life through the sacrament of baptism.

You, too, should come to Siloam, that is, to him who was sent by the Father (as he says in the Gospel. “My teaching is not my own, it comes from him who sent me).” Let Christ wash you and you will then see.

Come and be baptized, it is time; come quickly, and you too will be able to say,“ I went and washed;” you will be able to say, “I was blind, and now I can see,” and as the blind man said when his eyes began to receive the light. “The night is almost over and the day is at hand.”

St. Ambrose, 339-397

It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

By the mystery of the Incarnation,
he has led the human race that walked in darkness
into the radiance of faith
and has brought those born in slavery to ancient sin
through the waters of regeneration
to make them your adopted children.

Therefore, all creatures of heaven and earth
sing a new song in adoration,
and we, with all the hosts of Angels,
cry out, and without end acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts....

Preface, Fourth Sunday of Lent
The Man Born Blind
The Roman Missal, 3rd Edition

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"the grace of surrender to God's love"

Fourth Station of the Cross:  Jesus Meets His Mother

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and his kingdom will have no end” (Lk 1:30-33).

Mary remembered these words. She often returned to them in the secret of her heart. When she met her Son on the way of the Cross, perhaps these very words came to her mind. With particular force. “He will reign... His kingdom will have no end”, the heavenly messenger had said. Now, as she watches her Son, condemned to death, carrying the Cross on which he must die, she might ask herself, all too humanly: So how can these words be fulfilled? In what way will he reign over the House of David? And how can it be that his kingdom will have no end?

Humanly speaking, these are reasonable questions. But Mary remembered that, when she first heard the Angel’s message, she had replied: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Now she sees that her word is being fulfilled as the word of the Cross. Because she is a mother, Mary suffers deeply. But she answers now as she had answered then, at the Annunciation: “May it be done to me according to your word”.

In this way, as a mother would, she embraces the cross together with the divine Condemned One. On the way of the Cross Mary shows herself to be the Mother of the Redeemer of the world. “All you who pass by the way, look and see whether there is any suffering like my suffering, which has been dealt me” (Lam 1:12). It is the Sorrowful Mother who speaks, the Handmaid who is obedient to the last, the Mother of the Redeemer of the world.

O Mary, who walked the way of the Cross with your Son, your mother’s heart torn by grief, but mindful always of your fiat and fully confident that He to whom nothing is impossible would be able to fulfill his promises, implore for us and for the generations yet to come the grace of surrender to God’s love. Help us, in the face of suffering, rejection, and trial, however prolonged and severe, never to doubt his love. To Jesus, your Son, honor and glory for ever and ever.

~Bl. John Paul II, Stations of the Cross for Good Friday, 2000

Friday, March 28, 2014

"to carry our cross as He did"

Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps.  ~1 Peter 2:21

Let us ask, not to be exempt from suffering, but to be enlightened as to its value. "Lord, that I may see!" As soon as the blind man recovered his sight, he immediately followed Jesus, "glorifying God!" The supernatural light which we seek from the Lord will give us the strength to follow Him and to carry our cross as He did.  ~Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., in Divine Intimacy

Passion of Christ, strengthen me!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Moving Through"

"Moving Through" by Ann L. Krumrein

"For we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come."  ~Hebrews 13:14

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Annunciation of the Lord

Lest we think that in submitting himself to the will of God [Christ] exempted himself from depending upon the will of men, let us recall that he was handed over as a victim to the will of sinful men, to the will of Hell:  "But this is your hour," he said, "and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).  He did not await the Cross to make this submission.  Mary was the first altar upon which he was immolated.  Mary was the temple where he first rendered homage to God, where for the first time this great and marvelous spectacle of a God submissive and obedient even unto death, even giving himself up for sinners and to Hell itself in order that they might have their way with him.  Why this abasement?  To confound our pride.

In the sight of so profound an abasement, who could refuse to submit?  Of what obedience can we complain when we see the wills of the men to whom the Savior of souls submitted?  To the will of the cowardly Pilate, of the treasonous Judas, of the High Priests, and of the barbaric soldiers who made sport of him?  After this example of submission, we ought to cherish the lowest places, which, after the abasement of the incarnate God, have henceforth become the most honorable.

Mary joins us today in these sentiments.  Even though her angelic purity was a powerful attraction to make Jesus Christ be born in her, it was not her purity that brought this mystery to its consummation:  it was her humility and her obedience.  If Mary had not said that she was a handmaiden, in vain would she have been a virgin, and we would not exclaim today that her womb is blessed.  Let us profit from this lesson.  Let us meditate attentively upon this truth.

~Meditations for Lent by Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, let me not complain, let me not refuse to submit!  Teach me, I beg You, Your faithful obedience and loving humility.  Make me one with You and Your Blessed Mother in always seeking and cherishing the lowest places, where the Father dwells in all His glory.  Amen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"The woman left her water jar..." ~John 4:28

“...we too can find the stimulus to ‘leave our water jar’, the symbol of all that appears to be important, but that loses its value before ‘the love of God’. We all have one, or more than one! I ask you, and I ask myself: ‘what is your water jar, the one that weighs you down and takes you far from God?’ Let’s leave it aside and with our hearts listen to the voice of Jesus who is offering us another kind of water, the water that brings us close to the Lord.”  ~Pope Francis, 3/23/14 Angelus Message

"...but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  ~Philippians 3:14

My Jesus, I thirst for you!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

3rd Sunday of Lent

“Wearied by his journey, Jesus sat down beside a well. It was about the sixth hour.”  ~John 4:6

Already divine mysteries begin. Not for nothing is Jesus wearied; not for nothing does the Power of God suffer fatigue. Not for nothing does he who refreshes the weary endure weariness. Not for nothing is he wearied, whose absence makes us weary, whose presence gives us strength.

Jesus is tired, tired out by his journey. He sits down. On the edge of a well he seats himself. It is midday, and he sits there exhausted. All these details have meaning. They are meant to signify something. They capture our attention, persuading us to knock and investigate further. We have Christ’s own exhortation to do so, for he said: “Knock and it will be opened to you.” May he, then, open up the meaning of this text to us as well as to you.

It was for your sake that Jesus was wearied by his journey. In Jesus we encounter divine power together with weakness. He is strong and weak at one and the same time: strong, because “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. present with God from the beginning.” Would you know how strong the Son of God is? “All things were made through him, and apart from him nothing came into being.” The whole universe was made without effort. Could any greater power exist than the power of one who was able effortlessly to construct the entire universe?

And would you know him in his weakness? “The Word was made flesh, and lived among us.” The power of Christ created you; the weakness of Christ recreated you. Christ’s power caused what did not exist to come into being; Christ’s weakness saved existing things from destruction. In his might he fashioned us; in his weakness he came in search of us.

Jesus, then, is weak, tired out after his journey. Now that journey of his, undertaken for our sake, was his incarnation. How could he otherwise journey when he is present everywhere, and absent from nowhere? To what place or from what place could he travel? In only one way could he come to us, and that was by assuming our visible human flesh. Since then he condescended to come to us in that way, and to appear in the condition of a servant by taking to himself a human nature, that assumption of our nature was his journey.

The fatigue caused by his journey, therefore, was the weariness Jesus experienced in our human nature. In his human body he was weak, but you must not be weak. You must be strong in his weakness, for “there is more power in divine weakness than in human strength.”

St. Augustine, 354-430

Dear Lord, when I am weary, I will come to you and be refreshed.  Amen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Magnifying the Lord

"My soul magnifies the Lord" (Luke 1:46).  This does not mean that we can add anything to God, Saint Ambrose says, in commenting on this verse, but that we let him be great in us.  To magnify the Lord means, not to want to magnify ourselves, our own name, our own ego; not to spread ourselves and take up more space, but to give him room so that he may be more present in the world.  It means to become more truly what we are:  not a self-enclosed monad that displays nothing but itself, but God's image.  It means to get free of the dust and soot that obscures and begrimes the transparency of the image and to become truly human by pointing exclusively to him.

~Pope Benedict XVI in Mary, the Church at the Source by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Hans Urs von Balthasar

Friday, March 21, 2014

"the kiss of Christ"

Lo, there He hangs -
Ashened figure pinioned against the wood.
God grant that I might love Him
Even as I should.

I draw a little closer
To feel His love divine,
And Hear Him gently whisper,
“Ah, foolish child of mine -

If now I should embrace you,
My hands would stain you red,
And if I leaned to whisper,
My thorns would pierce your head.” 

‘Twas there I learned in meekness
That love demands a price;
‘Twas then I learned that suffering
is but the kiss of Christ.

 ~A Trappist Monk

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The way it is...

From moment to moment one can bear much.  
~St. Teresa of Avila

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.  
~Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Feast of St. Joseph


Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.  Christ have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, hear us.  Jesus, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. 
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V.  He made him the lord of His house:
R.  And ruler of all His substance.

Let us pray.  O God, in your ineffable providence, You were pleased to choose blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Your most holy Mother; grant, we beg You, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.  Amen.
Ave Maria!  Today we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, spouse of Our Lady and foster-father of the Child Jesus.  I am particularly fond of the above icon of St. Joseph because he looks so virile -- and that he was!  There was absolutely nothing about him that was lackluster or wishy-washy.  As we prayed in the Offertory Antiphon at the Traditional Latin Mass this morning:  "My truth and My mercy will be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted (Psalm 89[88]:25).  The titles of the beautiful Litany of St. Joseph above tell us much about this just and holy man and why we pray to him with such love and devotion.  Being a consecrated virgin, my favorite and constant invocation to him is:  "Guardian of Virgins, pray for us!"  I beg him to vigorously and assiduously assist me in faithfully living out these words from "The Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity for Women Living in the World" that Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza spoke to me as he slipped my wedding band on my finger:  "Receive the ring that marks you as a bride of Christ. Keep unstained your fidelity to your Bridegroom, that you may one day be admitted to the wedding feast of everlasting joy."  Dear St. Joseph, please pray for me and for all of us!  Amen!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Men and women who are merciful have big, big hearts."

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."  ~Luke 6:36

“Jesus' invitation to mercy is intended to draw us into a deeper imitation of God our Father: be merciful, as your Father is merciful…

“Who am I to judge this? Who am I to gossip about this? Who I am, who have done the same things, or worse?....

“A big heart doesn't get entangled in other people's lives, it doesn't condemn but forgives and forgets….  Men and women who are merciful have big, big hearts: they always excuse others and think more of their own sins. Were someone to say to them: 'but do you see what so and so did?', they respond in mercy saying: 'but I have enough to be concerned over with all I have done'.

“If all of us, all peoples, all families, all neighborhoods had this attitude, how much peace there would be in the world, how much peace there would be in our hearts, for mercy brings us peace! Let us always remember: who am I to judge? To be ashamed of oneself and to open and expand one's heart, may the Lord give us this grace!”

~Pope Francis, 3/17/14 Homily

King of Mercy, guide my soul.
St. Maria Faustina

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Stop judging.... Stop condemning.... Forgive...." ~Luke 6:37

We must take care of how we speak about our neighbor.  That little word, the dart casually tossed, the malicious tale that gives rise to so many straying thoughts by its affected obliqueness:  none of these will fall to the earth.  "No secret word is without result" (Wisdom 1:11).  We must take care of what we say and bridle our malicious anger and unruly tongues.  For there is a God in Heaven who has told us that he will demand a reckoning of our "careless words" (Matthew 12:36):  what recompense shall he exact for those which are harmful and malicious?  We ought, therefore, to revere his eyes and his presence.  Let us ponder the fact that he will judge us as we have judged our neighbor.  If we pardon, he will pardon us; if we avenge our injuries, we will "suffer vengeance from the Lord" (Sirach 28:1).  His vengeance will pursue us in life and in death, and we will have no rest either in this world or the next.  

~Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, Meditations for Lent

Dear Lord, please help me to be merciful, just as our Father is merciful.  Amen.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2nd Sunday of Lent

His face shone like the sun.  ~Matthew 17:2

In the presence of chosen witnesses the Lord unveils his glory, investing with such splendor that bodily appearance which he shares with the rest of the human race that his face shines like the sun and his clothes become white as snow.

The primary purpose of this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of Christ's disciples; the greatness of his hidden glory was revealed to them to prevent their faith being shaken by the self-abasement of the suffering he was voluntarily to undergo.

In his foresight, however, he was also laying the foundations of the Church's hope, teaching the whole body of Christ the nature of the change it is to receive, and schooling his members to look forward to a share in the glory which had already shone forth in their head.

The Lord had told them of this when he spoke of his coming in majesty: “Then shall the just shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

The blessed apostle Paul bears witness to the same thing: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”

And again: “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Still further instruction was to come from the transfiguration to fortify the apostles and perfect their understanding. Moses and Elijah, representing the law and the prophets, appeared in conversation with the Lord.

Thus through the presence of these five men the saying was fulfilled: “On the evidence of two or three witnesses every work shall stand.”

What could be more firmly established than that Word in whose proclamation the trumpets of Old and New Testaments sound in unison, and the writings of ancient witnesses are in perfect accord with the teaching of the gospel? 

The pages of both covenants agree with one another. He who had been promised beforehand by mysteriously veiled signs was now revealed clearly and distinctly in the radiance of his glory, since, as Saint John says, “The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.”

In Christ what was promised by prophetic figures and what was signified by legal precepts are alike fulfilled, for by his presence he teaches the truth of the prophecies, and by grace he makes it possible for us to obey the commandments.

May we all therefore be confirmed in our faith through the preaching of the holy Gospel, and let no one be ashamed of the cross by which Christ has redeemed the world.

None of us must be afraid to suffer for the sake of justice or doubt the fulfillment of the promises, for it is through toil that we come to rest and through death that we pass to life. 

If we continue in the acknowledgment and love of Christ who took upon himself all the weakness of our lowly nature, what he conquered we too shall conquer, and the promise he gave us we shall receive.

So then, whether it is to encourage us to obey his commands or to endure hardships, let the Father's voice always be ringing in our ears and telling us: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: listen to him.”

St. Leo the Great, c.400-461

Bless your faithful, we pray, O Lord,
with a blessing that endures for ever,
and keep them faithful
to the Gospel of your Only Begotten Son,
so that they may always desire and at last attain
that glory whose beauty he showed in his own Body,
to the amazement of his Apostles.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer Over the People, 2nd Sunday of Lent
The Roman Missal, 3rd Edition

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Mary is compassion..."

Mary is compassion. She truly is, since the Son was suffering and they said that the Mother was next to Him and suffered too. Reading Saint John Eudes, I understood that there is only one Heart, that of "Jesus and Mary."

To have this spirit of compassion, we must have our heart pierced… We cannot do it to ourselves; we need to ask Mary to truly have our heart pierced. It is important to ask Mary, as she constantly stands by the Cross of the Lord, suffers, and offers her compassion for Him. She teaches us to be compassionate.

Pierre Goursat, 1914-1991, Founder of the Emmanuel Community in France 

O thou Mother! fount of love! 
Touch my spirit from above; 
Make my heart with thine accord. 

Make me feel as thou hast felt; 
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord. 

Stabat Mater

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Prayer for Happiness

Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, the young men and old men together: and I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them joyful after their sorrow.   ~Jeremiah 31:13

Grant me, O Lord, the royalty of inward happiness and the serenity which comes from living close to thee.  Daily renew the sense of joy, and let the eternal spirit of the Father dwell in my soul and body, filling every corner of my heart with light and grace, so that bearing about with me the infection of a good courage, I may be a diffuser of life and may meet all ills and crosses with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving thee thanks always for all things.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Giving God the Glory

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.  ~1 Corinthians 10:31

It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God some glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty. To go to communion worthily gives God great glory, but to take food in thankfulness and temperance gives him glory too. To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a dung fork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give him glory too. He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should.  

~Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844-1889, Jesuit priest and English poet

Thank you, dear Lord, for the daily work that You give me to do.  In union with You and Your great sacrifice of love, may it always be a joyful sacrifice of praise for the glory of the Father.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Our Father!

This is how you are to pray:  "Our Father..."  ~Matthew 6:9

From the very first word of the Lord's Prayer, our hearts melt with love.  God wants to be our father...  God, who loves his only-begotten Son with all his love, even unto infinity, extends the love he has for his Son to us.  That is what Jesus said in the admirable prayer that he made to his Father for us:  "that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).  Let us then love such a Father.  Let us say a thousand times:  Our Father, our Father, our Father, will I not love you always?  Will we not always be true children enfolded in your paternal tenderness?

...Let us cry ardently, and let all our bones cry out:  O God, you are our Father!

~Meditations for Lent by Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

I give you praise, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
~Luke 10:21

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Behold, now is the acceptable time." ~2 Corinthians 6:2

Having given us this "acceptable time,"
grant that we may purify by abundant sorrow
the sacrifice we make of our heart
and that our love may willingly
consume the sacrifice in its flames.
The Roman Breviary
Hymn at Lauds, Season of Lent

Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Sunday of Lent

"At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil."  ~Matthew 4:1

Strong in our baptism, each of us can say [to the tempter]: “I too am made in the image of God, but unlike you, I have not yet become an outcast from heaven through my pride. I have put on Christ; by my baptism I have become one with him. It is you that should fall prostrate before me.”

At these words he can only surrender and retire in shame; as he retreated before Christ, the light of the world, so will he depart from those illumined by that light.

Such are the gifts conferred by baptism on those who understand its power; such the rich banquet it lays before those who hunger for the things of the Spirit.

~St. Gregory Nazianzen, 329-389, Commentary

Grant, Almighty God,
through the yearly observances of holy Lent,
that we may grow in understanding
of the riches hidden in Christ
and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Collect, First Sunday of Lent
The Roman Missal, Third Edition

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Hide yourselves for a little while..." ~Isaiah 26:20

"Go into your room" (Mt 6:6) -- that is, into the most private part of your home, or rather, go into the most intimate place in your heart.  Recollect yourself completely.  "Shut the door" (Mt 6:6).  Shut your senses, and let no foreign thoughts enter.  "Pray in secret."  Open your heart to God alone.  Let him be the keeper of your innermost sorrows.

"Do not heap up empty phrases" (Mt 6:7),  It is unnecessary to tell God your needs in lengthy speeches, for he knows all of them before you say a word.  Tell him interiorly about what will profit you, and recollect yourself in God.  The prayers of the pagans, who do not know God, are only a heap of senseless phrases.  Say little with your lips and much in your heart.  Do not multiply your thoughts, for doing so will only confuse and tire you.  Bring your attention to rest upon some important truth that captures your mind and heart.  Consider, weigh, and taste it; ruminate upon it, enjoy it.  Truth is the bread of the soul.  You do not need to swallow each morsel whole.  Nor do you need always to be passing from one truth to another.  Hold on to one, embracing it until it becomes a part of you.  Attach your heart to it even more than your mind.  Draw forth all of its juices by pressing it with your attention.

~Meditations for Lent by Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet
edited and translated by Christopher O. Blum
(see excellent reviews here and here)

My dear Jesus,
within Thy wounds hide me.
There may I learn Your goodness,
there may I sing Your love.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"He became poor..."

Ave Maria!  If you're looking for good spiritual reading during this Lenten season, consider reading and contemplating the Holy Father's "Message for Lent 2014," which you can access here.  Pope Francis reminds us therein that in order to bear witness to "the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ," we must "imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty."  The Holy Father adds that "Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt."

Lord, holy Father,
almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord,
we always and everywhere give You thanks,
and we beg You,
that by Your gracious gift of this Lenten season,
we may possess the joy of minds made pure
and become more eagerly intent on prayer
and on the works of charity,
in union with and in imitation of
Your Beloved Son, Jesus,
who became poor
that we might become rich.
Preface I of Lent, adapted

Sunday, March 2, 2014

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Do not worry about tomorrow.  ~Matthew 6:34

Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life with fear; rather look upon them with strong hope that, as they arise, God, Whose child you are, will deliver you from them.  He has kept you hitherto -- do you but hold fast to His dear Hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; where you cannot walk He will bear you in His Arms.  

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same Everlasting Father Who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  

Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

~St. Francis de Sales

Father, how wonderful Your care for us!
How happy I am to be Your child!
How greatly I rejoice in Your steadfast love!
Thank You, dear Father -- thank You!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Our Lady Helps Us To Grow

The Gospel of St. Luke tells us that in the family of Nazareth, Jesus "grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him" (2:40). Our Lady does just this for us; she helps us to grow as human beings and in the faith, to be strong and never to fall into the temptation of being human beings and Christians in a superficial way, but to live responsibly, to strive even higher. ~Pope Francis, 5/4/13 

just as you helped Jesus grow
in wisdom and grace,
help me also to advance
on the spiritual path
which God has laid out for me.
~Rev. Alfred McBride, O. Praem.